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By definition, it is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. It can be caused by stress, hormones, or really loud teenagers. Doctors can give you prescription pills or disgusting cherry-flavored sleep medicine to help you with this disorder, but in some cases, this does nothing but leave a horrible after taste. What physicians don’t understand is that sometimes your brain isn't what causes insomnia. It’s other people. The specific branch of insomnia I am referring to is oddly common and many people have grown up at one point or another with a taste of this. Now, with this certain ailment, medicines won’t have any affect. After all, no amount of pills can affect you emotionally when it comes to dealing with the problem of bullying.
I have this sleeping disorder. Most nights, I lie awake and ponder different solutions to my ailment. And every night there is a new idea to which is almost immediately thought to be genius. But before you know it, sanity takes over and crushes the light bulb that, for a moment, burned brighter than the shinning eyes of a little girl on Christmas, receiving Santa’s prized puppy with a wet, curious nose and a slobber filled hello. And as the shattered filaments of broken hopes and mangled ideas ground themselves into dust, the breeze grasps them within her arms and clasps them tightly in her embrace, and dances on the deserted sandy plain in your muted nightmares of desolation and loneliness. Every night I go through the same routine, from the normal fractured sleeping time and the splintered longing for a “normal” life, to the waking up repeatedly and the frightening nightmares.
What is worse about my condition is that it cannot be cured but any physical means. This I am certain of, though I have tried, and failed, to find a sane way to deal with and get rid of it. As I have not thought of an explication for this matter yet, and as I have been pondering this for a few years, I deem the task of finding a resolution to my plight impossible to achieve. For that is how long I have been thinking of this: years. There was no real start of it, just like there will never be a real end. No matter what I do, the whispers behind me will envelop my ears in a haze, the stares and pointing won’t ever be directed to another kid, and the laughing will continue to impede on my dreams.
They used to make fun of me for stupid reasons, whether it be for my lack of “in” fashion, my long, unruly hair, or my heavy weight in general. I would walk down the whitewashed hallways and have people slowly move away from me, giving me dirty stares and rude hand gestures. I’d be the last to be picked for anything, the first one that’s comes to mind when they wanted to laugh, and the only one sitting alone on the swings. As I went on through Middle School, teachers continued to tell us that you shouldn't bully, but most of the students would studiously ignore them. As me and my tormentors grew both older in age and greater in strength, the insults hurled against me gradually gained in force. In my old school, it got to be so bad that I couldn’t even eat lunch with the rest of my grade and I would spend more time in the counseling office or hiding in the bathrooms then actually in classes.
Bullying does that to people. I felt like I was all alone, that no one else really knew what I was going through. No matter what they said that they had experienced, it would never be the same as walking in my shoes. Because of this, friends were hard to come by. They would say that they understood how I was feeling when I knew for a fact that they didn’t. They would never have to listen to a collage of voices in their head before they lay down at night. They wouldn’t have to go home from whispered offenses to fighting parents and verbally abusive brothers. The words of the daylight wouldn’t have to haunt their very existence as soon as the sun disappeared and swung low over the treetops. That is a pain I would not even wish upon my tormentors themselves.
When my parents got divorced, an event long screamed about, I ended up being forced to move 800 miles away. Though there were other reasons for moving, the bullying got to be so much that all I wanted was a fresh start. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to what little friends I had, but in the end, a new home was beckoning me towards it. I moved in to my new house four days before my freshman year of High School started. The first month was terrible. Not only was I a freshman, I was just the girl from New York that looked weird and talked funny, and if it wasn’t for teacher-picked partners, I wouldn’t have made a single friend at all. After getting used to all that had changed in my life, I figured out a single constant: All High Schools throughout the United States consist solely of judgmental people who have nothing better to do than makes someone else’s life miserable. Even half a dozen states away, I still get hundreds of rude and derogatory social networking messages and emails. I stopped using Facebook and Twitter all together.
Throughout this year, my insomniatic episodes have been splattered like paint across the canvas of months. Occasionally they would subside for a few days, or weeks if I was lucky, but they fact that they would always come back loomed at the back of my mind and cast a pale shadow over my face at every waking moment. I wished so hard, like a homeless mother begging for food for her starving children, that the sleepless nights before long school days and fitful sleeping filled with hallucinations and nightmares to simply just go away.
There is a phrase in my Geometry class saying, “Oh, that breaks my heart. I’m going to go write a country song about it.” Well, a certain country singer did write a song about this. It’s times when they’re their worst when I think of that popular song by Taylor Swift. In the song “Mean”, the lyrics state that “you have pointed out my flaws again, as if I don’t already see them. I walk will my head down trying to block you out…I just want to feel okay again.” And that is all that anyone who gets bullied wants. They just want to get rid of the emotional scars and try to forget what they were forced to go through. I was and still am no different from everyone else.
I think that if someone was there by my side, standing up and supporting the part of me that wanted to break down, it might have made my journey thus far a bit more easier. But life never gets easier. You just get stronger. Though the bystanders are more common than the bullies, people are beginning to notice that the greatest of all mistakes is to do nothing at all. But they are also realizing that the right thing to do, like standing up for one of your friends or to a bully, is also one of the hardest thing to do. That is the reason intervention does not happen by anyone 85 percent of the time. Perhaps if this statistic were lower, fewer teens (myself included) would have suicidal thoughts and/or actions. If there was someone there for me, things would never have had to become as drastic as they did.
I get laughed at and made fun of both behind my back and to my face. I am forever going to be emotionally scarred and have an almost permanently low self-esteem. I will forever have the physical scars on my arms from when then bullying was at their worst. I have been pushed down the stairs, punched in the face, and so much more, but that last line from Swift’s song is what keeps me going and makes the long nights a bit more bearable. I know that in 10 years, I won’t even remember their names and when I look back at all these times, I’ll be able to say for sure that they were never worth my tears or the reminders that are forever on my skin.
That’s all because it’s hard to beat the person who never gives up and, to all the people who have bullied me, “all you’re ever gonna be is mean”.